UK rifle2 300LEXINGTON, Ky. (11/22/13) - Fairbanks, Alaska – In a matchup of unbeatens, the top-ranked University of Kentucky rifle team faces off with No. 2 Alaska-Fairbanks in two matches this weekend to round out the fall season, squaring off Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at the E.F. Horton Rifle Range.
“It’s going to be exciting. It’s always fun to come up here this time of year,” UK head coach Harry Mullins said. “You have different elements to deal with traveling all the way up here. Traveling to Alaska is always a neat experience for everyone.”
The Wildcats were last on the range two weekends ago, posting a 100-point victory over Navy. The 4693-4593 win featured senior Emily Holsopple and sophomore Connor Davis breaking 1180 aggregate individually. Emily Holsopple delivered the best smallbore performance of the day with a 589, before capping off her day with a 593 in air rifle to bring her aggregate score to 1182.
Davis started the morning with a 585 in smallbore, his second 585 of the season, and boosted his aggregate to 1180 with a 595 in air rifle, his third 595 in five contests.
Kentucky’s smallbore counters on Saturday will include Emily Holsopple, Davis, senior Aaron Holsopple and freshman Heather Kirby and Sonya May. Air rifle counters feature Emily Holsopple, Davis, junior Elijah Ellis, Kirby and May. Junior Cody Manning will be shooting as an individual.
“Alaska is a quality program, it’s always good to compete against them here or at home,” Mullins said. “We’ve always enjoyed our matches with them and the matches are normally very competitive. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some top scores this weekend, when the two teams get together it seems to bring out the best in people.”
Emily Holsopple leads Kentucky in smallbore, averaging 586.4 in the five Wildcats matches this. May averages 580.4 in smallbore on the year. Connor Davis and Emily Holsopple boast the highest averages in air rifle with both averaging greater than 590. Davis has averaged a 594.4 while Emily Holsopple has averaged a 592.
As freshmen, Kirby has averaged 586.8 in air rifle to begin her college career, while May holds a 589.6 average in air rifle.
Alaska took the past weekend off after going 2-0 on a road trip the previous weekend. The Nanooks slipped by No. 7 Jacksonville State 4674-4673 before knocking off TCU 4692-4646.
“They’ve really come out of the gate strong this year and I think they’ve really jelled together as a unit,” Mullins said. “They have some tremendous shooters on their team and I definitely see them making noise this year. They’re definitely a strong contender for a national championship in the spring. It’s good going up against this competition but also going to be a challenge.”
One point separates the two teams in the rankings as UK’s 4693 performance vs. Navy tops Alaska’s 4692 vs. TCU.
Follow Kentucky’s trip to Alaska on Cat Scratches, the official blog of UK Athletics.
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